What's the Salary for Graduates of a Psy.D. in Counseling Psychology?

A Doctor of Psychology degree, or Psy.D., is a professional degree you might consider if you want to become a practicing psychologist. Salaries for these professionals depend on the industry you're employed in, your geographical location and your number of years of experience. Read on to find out more about the employment prospects and salary potential for professionals with a Psy.D. Schools offering Addictions & Social Work degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes psychologists with both Psy.D. and Ph.D. degrees in their collective information (www.bls.gov). In a BLS report from May 2018, clinical, counseling and school psychologists showed median annual salaries of $76,990, with most of these professionals earning between $44,040 and $129,330. Salaries were affected by industry, location and experience.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Program Prerequisites Master's degree in psychology, counseling or related mental health field; completion of clinical practicum (minimum hours vary by school); applicable graduate courses
Key Skills Communication, compassion, problem-solving, listening, patience
Work Environment Private practice offices, clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, mental health facilities
Continuing Education Most states require continuing education classes for license renewal

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


In May 2018, the largest number of employment opportunities for clinical, counseling and school psychologists were found in elementary and secondary schools and the offices of other health practitioners, reported the BLS. These industries paid average wages of $78,970 and $96,930, respectively. Opportunities were also found in individual and family services, offices of physicians, and outpatient care centers where average wages were a respective $85,810, $94,320 and $93,620. Offices of the health practitioners gave the highest average wage of $96,930.


The BLS stated that California and New York had more clinical, counseling and school psychologists than other states on a per capita basis, and that in May 2018, the average salaries for these locations were $108,350 and $94,140, respectively. The highest average salaries for these psychologists were in the states California ($108,350), Oregon ($103,830), New Jersey ($98,470), District of Columbia($95,500) and Hawaii ($94,550). The lowest average salaries in 2014 ranged from $50,440-$69,070 and were in locations that included Montana, Kansas, Alabama, West Virginia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Arizona and South Carolina.

Degree Program Overview

Before you place this earning potential in your asset column, you should know a few things about what it takes to get this degree. Doctoral programs in counseling psychology generally take about 4-5 years of full-time study, depending on whether you're entering with a bachelor's or a master's degree. You may be required to write and defend a dissertation or pass qualifying exams. You'll likely follow your coursework with a 1-2 year internship. After you've completed your education, you will have to pass state licensing exam before you can begin practice.


Your curriculum may be designed with a specific focus or as a general degree. Studies cover subjects like personality assessment testing, treatment planning, communication enhancement techniques for dysfunctional groups and cultural influences on mental health. Some schools may include community service as part of the curriculum.


According to the BLS, there are some specialization fields for counseling psychologists that may offer you a wider range of job opportunities. Increased demand for counseling services is expected to contribute to the overall growth of 14% for psychologists over the 2016-2026 decade. Understanding that personal stress can create productivity problems in the workplace has spurred more employers to institute employee mental health assistance programs. You may also find more openings and less job competition in fields like school psychology.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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